As someone who loves the countryside and regularly cycles and walks there, it is with disappointment I see single dwellings continuing to be built there, even on open countryside.
I even see some already up for sale and more sites put up for sale also.
I had my doubts at the time that the new planning law PPS21 was not adequate to stop unnecessary building in the countryside. Sadly my concerns have been confirmed.
The final draft had been significantly watered down from the original when Sammy Wilson was in charge. With no disrespect to Sammy, he would not be known for his environment credentials. Even Sammy had said of a member of the committee that he would want to build in every field.
When we were under direct rule they saw what was happening in the countryside and brought in a strict law. The sad thing was that it was used as one of the bargaining tools to get the parties to do a deal. If the assembly committee had brought in the planning law that is in place in England and Wales I would not be writing this letter.
There is no doubt that some farmers get others a bad name when it comes to selling building sites. They have been responsible for speculators obtaining areas of the countryside for financial gain.
I do not know if some of the decisions to allow the building I am talking about was taken by the new powers the council have? If that is so, we have already seen some poor decisions. Allowing unnecessary building in the countryside also brings a lot of unwanted traffic. To allow people to drive at 60 miles per hour on country roads is asking for trouble. We have sadly seen too many accidents on country roads.
It is time to reduce the speed limit and stop the unnecessary building.
John Mulholland, Doagh